File image of Quinton de Kock (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)LEEDS: Quinton de Kock believes it will become increasingly difficult for leading cricketers to play all three main formats, although he remains confident about the future for one-day internationals.
The South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman, who made a fine unbeaten 92 before the third ODI against England at Headingley on Sunday was washed out, ended his Test career late last year, shortly before becoming a father for the first time.
Questions regarding a congested global schedule were raised again after the ODI retirement of England all-rounder Ben Stokes following the first match of this series at the 2019 World Cup final star's Chester-le-Street home ground.
De Kock, speaking after Sunday's rain in Leeds meant a three-game contest ended in a 1-1 draw, told reporters: "It's going to start being tough for players — three formats is a lot and it looks like more games are happening over the calendar.
"Players need to make decisions individually and if they feel they can do it (play Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals), I am happy for them," the 29-year-old added.
"But guys need to take decisions into their own hands. For me, I am happy where I am."
De Kock though stressed curtailing a 54-match Test career had yet to have the desired effect.
Although he had two months off after returning from paternity leave to play in South Africa's white-ball matches against India in January ahead of the series against Bangladesh, he has been on the go playing cricket ever since.
De Kock featured for the Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League before the tour of England, which also includes several further T20 internationals.
He will then remain in England to play in the Hundred before heading to the Caribbean Premier League prior to another white-ball series in India which precedes the T20 World Cup in Australia.
"It (retiring from Tests) hasn't freed up my calendar — at least not this year," said De Kock.
"I've been roped in to play a couple of leagues but that's my own consequence.
"I am happy to do it. It's still a sacrifice but I'm slowly getting to an age where I need to think about where I want to be in my career."
South Africa have never won a 50-over World Cup — something they will try to put right in India next year — with De Kock insisting: "The (ODI) game is doing well for itself with the way players are going about it and from a batting and bowling competitiveness.
"There's a future for it and a lot of us still want to win 50-over World Cups."
De Kock was just shy of what would have been his 18th ODI century, with the opener 92 not out off 76 balls, including 13 fours, when rain eventually ended play with South Africa 159-2 off 27.4 overs.
"I think obviously it's nice going out there and scoring runs for the guys," he said.
England captain Jos Buttler was left frustrated by a gruelling schedule, as much as the bad weather.
The 50-over world champions are currently nine games into a hectic period of 12 white-ball fixtures in 24 days, with just a solitary training day in that time.
Buttler, who recently succeeded Eoin Morgan as England's limited-overs captain following the 2019 World Cup-winning skipper's international retirement, said: "It's tough.
"To get the highest standard of cricket possible, you need to prepare properly. Hopefully that's something we can look at going forward.
He added: "That's been a frustration to be truthfully honest — it would be nice to have that time to do the work."